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The Ever So Sweet Katsura Tree

Updated on March 28, 2010
RGraf profile image

Rebecca Graf is a seasoned writer with nearly a decade of experience and degrees in accounting, history, and creative writing.

Thank You, Asia

Spring is in the air and the thought of walking through the parks and enjoying the beauty of nature is almost too much to bear.  As you go along your walk, do you look at the trees?  Do you notice the many kinds that fill your city parks?  What you don’t realize is that there are hundreds of different kinds of ornamental trees that grace our parks.  One of them is the Katsura Tree.

The ornamental Katsura Tree is a native of Japan and China.  Research has shown that it might originally have come from the low mountain areas of China where it splashed its beauty on the landscape.  When discovered in nature, it has been found as high as 100 feet or more in height.  Cultivated elsewhere produces trees that get as high as 45 feet.

If are looking for a tree to grace your lawn, check into the Katsura.  It grows relatively fast as long as it is exposed to sun and its roots remain moist.  In the spring you will see the red flowers before the leaves appear.  The leaves are heart shaped and are very similar to that of the redbud.  Found in nature in Asia the leaves are huge and are easily the largest ones around.

by KENPEI on wikimedia commons
by KENPEI on wikimedia commons

Ever So Sweet

In the fall, the leaves create an effect that is highly unusual for trees. As the leaves begin to turn brown for the autumn season, they release an aroma that many say is like that of cotton candy, caramel, or brown sugar. Autumn around these trees might not be good for the waist line.

The wood of the Katsura is soft and very light. Some describe it as a white wood. Because of the lack of strength, it is not used in the framework of houses. Instead it is used to build cabinets and to create some of the most beautiful paneling.

by Kucharz on wikimedia commons
by Kucharz on wikimedia commons

Sit Back and Enjoy

As with most of nature, there is a legend attached to it.  According to Asian tradition, the Katsura tree has a lot of influence on Mother Nature.  As the Katsura leaves turn brown and release their tantalizing aroma, the moon in turn reflects it and gives us our autumn moon.

If you get the chance, look at your local nursery for a Katsura tree.  You won’t regret adding it to your landscape.  And in the autumn you can watch as the sweet leaves give you the autumn moon.


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    • profile image

      Ann 6 years ago

      I do regret adding Katsura to my landscape. This is the second one. The first was weeping Morioka. The current tree is upright. Both developed brown-edge leaves out of season, as this one is doing right now. I've done all imaginable: loosened the root ball before planting, placed in a rich hole with organic fertilizer (Espoma), and tamped and water it well. We've had quite loads of "showers" these past six days, but the leaves had brown edges before the rain started and haven't improved since it began. We took leaves to two local nurseries. One horticulturist said it was insect damage, but we had been spraying a commercial chemical on it, a systemic, which we have since stopped, thinking the chemical may have been too strong. The opinion from the second horticulturist was that it had either too much water or too little. Our moisture meter told us the tree had plenty of moisture at that time, so it wasn't water-deficient. What to do ... does anyone have any suggestions suggestions?

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 7 years ago from Upstate New York


    • UlrikeGrace profile image

      UlrikeGrace 7 years ago from Canada

      Thanks, trees are ever so fascinating. That we can have so many of these large plants gives witness to God's creativity.

      Blessings UlrikeGrace

    • BetsyIckes profile image

      BetsyIckes 7 years ago from Pennsylvania

      I never knew about the legend of the Katsura tree. thanks for sharing!